Supercar sign of Ohio’s importance to Honda

Acura unveiled the first — and only — supercar built in the U.S. on Tuesday, a move that local leaders said shows Honda’s commitment to Southwest Ohio.

The 2017 Acura NSX is on par with high-end vehicles like Lamborghini and Ferrari. The Marysville plant was chosen to manufacture the vehicle because of its experienced workforce, said Tom Shoupe, COO of Honda of America.

“There’s an amazing amount of talent that we’ve been able to draw from manufacturing, engineering,” Shoupe said.

Honda is a major employer in Ohio with more than 13,000 employees in the state, including about 1,400 from Champaign and Clark counties.

Manufacturing the NSX in Ohio also brings it closer to its primary customer, IHS Automotive Principal Analyst Joe Langley said.

“Acura is pretty much a U.S brand,” he said.

The choice to build locally is a natural progression, he said, of the more than 30 years Honda has operated in the area.

“It’s a testament to the faith they have in their Ohio operations,” he said.

It also shows the overall health of the company, he said.

About 100 workers were chosen from local plants to build the NSX at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Shoupe said, which created openings in other facilities.

“That speaks volumes about the quality of the people that we have here and the experience we’ve built over time,” he said.

Springfield resident Tim Mitch has worked for Honda for about 30 years and is an assembler on the NSX.

“To be a part of this project is just real special,” Mitch said.

He’s been working on the project for years, he said, and it’s the greatest achievement of his career.

“We take pride in what we do,” he said.

Honda is vital to the local economy, Bellefontaine Mayor Ben Stahler said.

“Thousands of our residents are very proud associates of Honda,” he said.

Seven employees who work on the NSX live in Champaign County, nine in Clark County and 17 in Logan County.

“The entire product is coming out of Ohio,” he said.

Honda also utilized many local suppliers for the supercar, Chief Engineer Clement D’Souza said. The car’s engine was built at the company’s largest engine plant in Anna.

The Marysville plant will produce about eight to 10 NSX vehicles a day.

The starting cost of the Acura supercar is $156,000 and tops out at $205,700. All models are custom built, Shoupe said.

The first NSX was purchased by Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick bid $1.2 million to custom order the vehicle. All proceeds from that sale were donated to two children’s charities, Shoupe said, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Camp Southern Ground.

About the Author